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DRCSim and TF : please tell me what I'm missing

asked 2013-03-15 21:09:52 -0500

dougbot01 gravatar image

updated 2013-03-17 00:43:03 -0500

Hello All,

DRCSim-2.2, Ubuntu 12.04.2LTS

I am trying to convert LaserScan images to Point Clouds with modified version of code here...

Modifications are only changing link/topic names, and changing setExtrapolationLimit to 3.0.

I get the following error...

terminate called after throwing an instance of 'tf::LookupException'
what(): Frame id /head_hokuyo_frame does not exist! Frames (31): Frame /hokuyo_link exists with parent /head.
Frame /head exists with parent /utorso.
Frame /ltorso exists with parent /pelvis.

I shortened this, but /head_hokoyu_frame is not in the list.

"view_frames" shows connection between /pelvis and /head_hokoyu_frame

Update : I have been trying the TF tutorials for inspiration. The view_frames output says the transform from /pelvis to /ltorso is 1363397010.463 sec old ?? Also, tf_monitor shows Average Delay: -0.495226 for some frames.

Thank you for any assistance or useful links.

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1 Answer

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answered 2013-03-19 21:11:34 -0500

gerkey gravatar image

Looks like the problem is that when you receive a laser scan, its timestamp is later than all the available /tf data. This is a common issue in a distributed system, and is what message filters were designed to address. You should try using a message filter.

In the meantime, to help understand the problem, below is a slightly modified version of the code you pointed to. In this version, I added a sleep to the laser scan callback to allow for /tf data to be received before trying to transform the latest scan. By default, this sleep would block receipt of all data, including /tf; so I created a multithreaded spinner. What you should see if you run this program is that at first transforms will fail as your /tf subscriber hooks up and starts getting data; then they'll start succeeding.

Again, don't use the code here; use message filters instead.

#include <ros/ros.h>
#include <tf/transform_listener.h>
#include <laser_geometry/laser_geometry.h>

class My_Filter {
        void scanCallback(const sensor_msgs::LaserScan::ConstPtr& scan);
        ros::NodeHandle node_;
        laser_geometry::LaserProjection projector_;
        tf::TransformListener tfListener_;

        ros::Publisher point_cloud_publisher_;
        ros::Subscriber scan_sub_;

        scan_sub_ = node_.subscribe<sensor_msgs::LaserScan> ("/multisense_sl/laser/scan", 100, &My_Filter::scanCallback, this);
        point_cloud_publisher_ = node_.advertise<sensor_msgs::PointCloud2> ("/cloud", 100, false);

void My_Filter::scanCallback(const sensor_msgs::LaserScan::ConstPtr& scan){
    // Sleep a little so that we have a better chance of having current /tf data
    // before trying to transfrom this latest /scan.
    sensor_msgs::PointCloud2 cloud;
      projector_.transformLaserScanToPointCloud("pelvis", *scan, cloud, tfListener_);
    catch(tf::TransformException& e)
      printf("failed to transform: %s\n", e.what());

int main(int argc, char** argv)
    ros::init(argc, argv, "my_filter");

    My_Filter filter;

    // Start up two threads, one to handle /tf messages and the other for /scan
    // messages.
    ros::MultiThreadedSpinner spinner(2);

    return 0;
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Hi Brian, thank you so much for the response. I have been getting through the TF tutorials and see that I will need the MessageFilter as you said. Unfortunately the code/programs for the tutorial are no longer in fuerte (unless I missed a package) but I have almost re-created all the files and will submit bug/patch on GitHub for that. Thanks again!

dougbot01 gravatar imagedougbot01 ( 2013-03-20 13:28:29 -0500 )edit
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Asked: 2013-03-15 21:09:52 -0500

Seen: 996 times

Last updated: Mar 19 '13